Emic Application Cluster 2.5 will support JBoss Inc.s JBoss application server, thus enabling customers to cluster Java-based servers for high availability and scalability.
EAC 2.5 is also picking up support for 64-bit computing to enable customers to get even greater speed and efficiency than plain vanilla clustering would deliver.
Also new is a dispatcher-based load balancer that supports full redundancy for the clusters dispatcher node, designed to reduce single point of failures. Company officials said the new load balancer will make installation easier, as it allows EAC to transparently integrate into environments without forcing reconfiguration of routers and switches.
EAC 2.5 also will introduce manual deferred standby mode for cluster nodes. That mode allows a node to keep receiving updates but defers the actual update process so that users can first attend to whatever maintenance task is at hand, such as table reorganization or index rebuilding.
The update is also designed so that clusters can be more easily expanded. Thats made doable by the new ability to install EAC on one node and add new nodes with little effort, a feature Emic officials refer to as auto-discovery-based installation.
Other new features include controls and mechanisms that give system status information, designed to make it easier to manage clusters. Finally, support for additional data types and functions should help users avoid the need to modify applications to run on clusters.
Of all the enhancements, the addition of the middlewares support for the application layer JBoss will bring is the biggest news, technology-evolution-wise. Whereas Emics EAC middleware has supported the open-source LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl) platform for a few years, the addition of the application layer brings it into alignment with what enterprises are requesting from their open-source environments, according to Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif.
"[Emic is] definitely making the right move," Yuhanna said. "Emic is going beyond just being a database clustering solution company and becoming an application-focused clustering solution. Theyre definitely going up the chain to offer more integration between the elements of this stack. This is very essential, especially in the open-source arena, where questions about availability and scalability are always on the minds of CIOs."
Joe Dennick, director of IS operations at Securities America Financial Corp., says hallelujah to that. Dennick is running MySQL databases and Apache on EAC 2.0-enabled clusters. Availability is crucial, given that the financial firm—an independent broker/dealer firm in Omaha, Neb.—keeps customers Web log-in account information in MySQL databases.
Dennick said his Apache Web servers, which run the cluster, provide much higher availability and performance than he was used to getting on bigger Sun Microsystems Inc. servers.
How did he come to be running all of this open-source software? Dennick said that back when his group was building an authentication program, they looked around and saw that MySQL was the fastest, cheapest database.
"Its fast, its light, it runs on compact hardware," he said. The nodes run about $6,000 each, Dennick said—a pittance compared with comparable Sun boxes that he said cost about $50,000 apiece.